Vitamin A deficiency is a common health problem that stems from a lack of vitamin A in the body. To understand this condition, we first need to know a little more about the vitamin itself.

Vitamin A is an awesome vitamin. Not only does it help us maintain healthy eyesight, but it’s also essential in the smooth functioning of the immune system and plays a large role in healthy growth. Interestingly enough, humans don’t naturally produce vitamin A, so we have to find it in food or supplements.

Carrots as a source of vitamin A

Carrots are a commonly-cited source of vitamin A, and rightly so!

This means that we can run out of vitamin A — like when we eat an unbalanced diet — a condition which the industry refers to as vitamin A deficiency. In this article, we’ll be discussing the causes, symptoms, and signs of a vitamin A Deficiency.

What is Vitamin A deficiency?

Vitamin A is in fact a group of various different chemical compounds which we consider collectively as one vitamin. Vitamin A is essential in growing and maintaining both healthy eyesight and the immune system.

Image of retinol chemical formula

Retinol is one component compound of the vitamin A complex.

The body doesn’t naturally produce vitamin A, so it’s easy for us to run out when we don’t eat the right things. This lack of vitamin A in the body is referred to as a vitamin A deficiency, which is sometimes shortened to the acronym V-A-D.

Considering the vital functions that vitamin A performs in the body, it should come of no surprise that a severe vitamin A deficiency can have serious consequences, such as blindness.

Causes, symptoms, and signs of Vitamin A deficiency

Now let’s talk about three things: the causes, symptoms, and signs of a vitamin A deficiency…

Causes

The cause of vitamin A deficiency is, by definition, a lack of vitamin A in the body. This normally comes as the result of a poor diet, which we’ll talk more about now.

Image of potatoes

Potatoes are certainly vegetables, but they contain hardly any vitamin A. This is why we suggest seeking out colorful vegetables.

Only certain types of food contain significant amounts of vitamin A. Some of the most common sources of this vitamin include meat, fish, dairy, and colorful fruit and veg. Classic examples are carrots, sweet potatoes, and animal livers.

It’s when we don’t get enough of these quality foods that our body becomes vitamin A deficient. That’s why vitamin A deficiency occurs more often in less economically developed regions, like Sub Saharan Africa, where children and adults alike struggle to get enough good food.

Map of vitamin A deficiency

A map of the world showing the incidence of vitamin A deficiency across the world (red = high incidence)

Symptoms

It’s not always easy to identify the symptoms of vitamin A deficiency, as some might just as easily be linked to other conditions. However, a vitamin A deficiency is almost always associated with two symptoms:

  • Worse-than-usual vision
  • Lethargy and/or inability to recover from illness

Not only does a vitamin A deficiency weaken your body entirely, but it quickly causes night blindness (making it more difficult to see in the dark). This can easily progress to cause total blindness or xerophthalmia — the inability to create tears.

Demonstrative image of night blindness.

Night blindness makes seeing in the dark even harder, and is often caused by a lack of vitamin A.

Signs

If you feel particularly tired for a long period of time (say, over a week) or you believe your vision is gradually deteriorating, you might be seeing the early signs of a vitamin A deficiency. You might also want to consider the quality of your diet in recent months — have you eaten enough of the essential food groups we mentioned above?

If you think that you might have a vitamin A deficiency, you should contact your doctor immediately. If you’re certain your deficiency isn’t too bad, try eating a more balanced diet containing some of the foods we mentioned earlier.

Conclusion

Alright, let’s sum this all up. Vitamin A deficiency is a common medical condition caused by a lack of vitamin A, which we can only get from food or supplements. Great sources of this fantastic vitamin (which helps us grow, see, and protects us from illness) include colorful veg and animal products. Symptoms and signs of this deficiency include high levels of tiredness and illness, or difficulty seeing.

http://www.talksupplement.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/carrots-1024x683.jpghttp://www.talksupplement.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/carrots-300x300.jpgThomas BushNutritionPerformanceWellbeingcommon medical conditions,deficiency,health,lack of,vitamin a,wellbeing
Vitamin A deficiency is a common health problem that stems from a lack of vitamin A in the body. To understand this condition, we first need to know a little more about the vitamin itself. Vitamin A is an awesome vitamin. Not only does it help us maintain healthy eyesight,...